Fields of Research

Five major fields of research guide CERI’s scientific development and federate its activities. These broad fields encompass all research currently being conduced by CERI scholars, across their academic disciplines (political science, sociology, anthropology, history, law, geography and economics) and the various approaches to the study of world politics (international/transnational relations, area studies and comparative politics) represented within the center. Every CERI faculty member choses to associate with a field he or she considers the closest to their research interests; some scholars identify with one major and one secondary field of research. A tandem of co-leaders heads each field of research.

Field: 1 - Actors and levels of regulation in world politics

Lead by: Frédéric Ramel and Ariel Colonomos

Primary members: Bertrand Badie, Thierry Balzacq, Samy Cohen, Dominique Colas, Ariel Colonomos, Anne de Tinguy, Guillaume Devin, Jean-Luc Domenach, Jean-Pierre Filiu, Ronald Hatto, Carola Klöck, Hélène Le Bail, Christian Lequesne, Hugo Meijer, Frédéric Ramel

Secondary members: François Bafoil, Stéphanie Balme, Olivier Dabène, Marie Mendras, Benoit Pelopidas, Karoline Postel-Vinay, Sandrine Revet, Jérôme Sgard, Hélène Thiollet, Eric Verdeil

This topic gathers projects and research agendas in International Relations interested in the analysis of foreign policies, international organizations, conflicts, strategy and defense, and the environment. CERI staff working on this area majoritarily follow a qualitative approach, both sociological and normative, within an international debate that is often too focused on the rational choice paradigm.

This topic aims to explore the role of values and ideas in the definition of the politics of the international, mainly in three domains:

  • War and peace
  • Norms and international relations
  • When the local and the global meet
Research projects:

Europe's external action and the dual challenges of limited statehood and contested orders (H2020 "EU-LISTCO") 

- How data makes us see and expect war: the impact of research practices in quantitative conflict analysis on perceptions of political violence by NGOs, political institutions, and the media (DATAWAR)

Migration governance and asylum crises (H2020 "MAGYC")

- Sociology of foreign policy and diplomatic practices 

Narratives of the global: contesting and converging stories of global order 

- Research group on Environment and international relations

- Research group on multilateralism 

- Research group on International, politics, philosophy

- Research group on Comparative regionalism

The nuclear proliferation international history project  

Field: 2 - Political participation and mobilization

Lead by: Sandrine Perrot and Hélène Combes

Primary members: Jean-Philippe Béjà, Hélène Combes, Olivier Dabène, Stéphanie Latte, Marc Lazar, Sandrine Perrot, Jacques Rupnik

Secondary members: Claire Andrieu, Richard Banégas, Samy Cohen, Laurent Gayer, Riva Kastoryano, Denis Lacorne, Stéphane Lacroix, Hélène Le Bail, Elise Massicard, David Recondo, Jean-Louis Rocca, Kathy Rousselet  

This field gathers CERI researchers interested in “classical” debates on political participation (vote, activism, mobilization) while putting them to the test of new fields, far from the comfort zone of Western countries. This new perspective allows for a questioning of the classical debates and themes and refuses a normative vision of what should be the legitimate forms of political and social participation, preferring an empirical perspective and the analysis of practices. The projects included in this Field join in their will to develop comparative studies, both in time and space. In return, they provincialize theoretical systems or apparatus that have been built based on European or North American cases, often showing their singularities.

The activities corresponding to this Field are organized around two main themes of research:

  • Mobilizations in the public space
  • Revisiting the Act of Voting
Research projects:

- Political Participation of Asian Migrants and their Descendants in France (PolAsia 2020-2023)

Street corner democracy. Cultural intervention in Latin America's urban public spaces

Street art and democracy in Latin America 

- Governance and citizens' participation in the Andine region  

- East Africa Observatory 

- Social Innovation in times of conflict. Economic and citizen alternatives in the Middle East

Research groups :

- The new demagogues

- Pluridisciplinary research group on contemporary Italy (GREPIC)

Field: 3 - The State and the transformation of the State

Lead by: Elise Massicard and Hélène Thiollet

Primary members: Fariba Adelkhah, François Bafoil, Stéphanie Balme, Romain Bertand, Béatrice Hibou, Christophe Jaffrelot, Eberhard Kienle, Laurence Louër, Roland Marchal, Luis Martinez, Elise Massicard, Marie Mendras, Françoise Mengin, Nadège Ragaru, Jean-Louis Rocca, Jérôme Sgard, Hélène Thiollet, Eric Verdeil, Catherine Wihtol de Wenden

Secondary members: Adam Baczko, Bayram Balci, Antonela Capelle-Pogacean, Guillaume Devin, Gilles Favarel-Garrigues, Laurent Fourchard, Christian Lequesne, Catherine Perron

This research topic focuses on the state, its historicity, its modes of action and its insertion into the global, through projects mixing a historical sociology of the political, the trajectories of capitalism, the formation of the state, public policies and the way public and private actors mingle in the regulations of the social world. This Field is an extension of the historical sociology perspective on the State and public action that has traditionally been developed at CERI. Current research in this Field deals with the recompositions of the state and more generally the forms of political regulation in a globalized world, as well as their circulation. Research who fall under this Field are also interested in the transformation of how public policies are produced and in their actors, in particular in how micro-local and global scales “articulate”, and in the analysis of authoritarian situations. Even if political science, political sociology, comparative politics are the main disciplinary perspectives adopted in this Field, there is an open dialogue with other disciplines of the social sciences, such as history and sociology. The various case studies contribute to a critical, empirically based and historical sociology of the contemporary global governance.

The three main themes of interest in Field 3, The state and the transformation of the state are:

  • Theoretical debates on the state and globalization through so-called peripheral cases
  • Studying global politics: Circulations and levels of regulation
  • Tools and methods: The state and the global top-down and bottom-up. Empirical questions, scales and levels, and historicity
Research projects:

- Electrical hybridations: the emerging forms of the energy transition in the cities of the Global South (ANR "HYBRIDELEC")

- The Earth cycle (a FEDER project)

- Public action "elsewhere"

Understanding the Mediterranean salinity crisis (Marie Curie network "SALTGIANT")

Sociology of national and regional elected representatives, from the Raj to the Indian Union (LIA "SPINPER")

- Migrants in global metropolises

The Martin Domke archives

- The debt crisis of the 1980s. An oral and archival history

Research groups

- Migrations and mobility

- Energy and cohesion: governance, regulation and negociations 


Field: 4 - Violence and danger management

Lead by: Laurent Gayer and Sandrine Revet 

Primary members: Claire Andrieu, Adam Baczko, Didier Bigo, Gilles Favarel-Garrigues, Laurent Fourchard, Laurent Gayer, Benoit Pelopidas, Sandrine Revet, Jacques Semelin

Secondary members: Laurent Bonnefoy, Dominique Colas, Stéphanie Latte, Sandrine Perrot, Frédéric Ramel  

Social sciences sometimes seem unarmed faced to extreme crises. Beyond their diversity, be they wars, genocides, or any type of disasters or catastrophes (technological or natural), these crises present a common analytical challenge. How can logics of action, power relations and more generally a certain form of sociological coherence be reinjected into these moments of apparent disintegration of the social order? How can we reflect upon the social, the political or the economy when human or natural violence shake what was thought to be evident? The share of disorder specific to contemporary societies is not only limited to dealing with effective crises. In a more diffuse manner, it is visible through a series of dispositifs of prevention and security assemblages through which the state redeploys in front of new threats and populations who are pointed out as “at risk”. These are the themes on which this Field focuses, through research projects, groups working on “rationalities” of mass violence, the management of “natural” disasters, the contemporary forms of security or the making of politics during an armed conflict. A conceptual reflexion on the very notions of “violence”, “disaster”, “security”, “disorder”, “vulnerability” or “genocide”, among others has been done by the researchers who participate to this Field, in order to question their relevance, their usages and their limits. Two main themes structure research within this Field:

  • Mass violence and extreme crises
  • Security and Insecurity
Research projects:

Projects in progress

Contextualizing Radicalization: the politics of violent extremism 2019-2022

- PREVEX: Preventing Violent Extremism in the Balkans and the MENA: Strengthening Resilience in Enabling Environments

- RULNAT - Ruling on Nature. Animals and the Environment before the Court (2020-2024)

- SNNO - Strategic Narrative of Nuclear Order

De la vulnérabilité politique à l'âge nucléaire (VULPAN) 20107-2021

Oversight and interrligence networks: who guards the guardians? (ANR-ORA "GUARDINT")

- Nuclear weapons choices. Governing vulnerabilities between past and future (ERC "Nuclear")

- Political vulnerability in the nuclear age (ANR "Vulpan")

- Development of an integrated approach towards the reduction of risks associated with vulcanic eruptions, from research on the aleas to crisis management tools: the case of the Martinique (ANR "RAVEX")

- The use of technologies linked to the interception of communications (ANR "UTIC")

Research groups

- Risks and disasters

- Africa: citizenship, violence and politics

- Political violence

- Terrorism and antiterrorism

- Research network on Mass violence and resistance

Previous projects

- Research network on vigilantism   

- Human trafficking and institutions. A comparison between France and Germany (ANR "ProsCrim")

Field: 5 - Identity and politics

Lead by: Daniel Sabbagh and Laurent Bonnefoy

Primary members: Bayram Balci, Richard Banégas, Laurent Bonnefoy, Antonela Capelle-Pogacean, Alain Dieckhoff, Juliette Galonnier, Riva Kastoryano, Denis Lacorne, Stéphane Lacroix, Nadia Marzouki, Catherine Perron, Karoline Postel-Vinay, Nadège Ragaru, David Recondo, Kathy Rousselet, Daniel Sabbagh, Astrid von Busekist

Secondary members: Fariba Adelkhah, Jean-Philippe Béjà, Romain Bertrand, Jean-Pierre Filiu, Christophe Jaffrelot, Laurence Louër, Jacques Rupnik, Jacques Semelin, Catherine Wihtol de Wenden  

This field gathers researchers interested in the formation and expression of diverse collective identities (national, cultural, ethnic, religious, diasporic, “racial”...) that come into play in the political sphere, in the broad sense. They generally adopt a constructivist perspective and use various methods (ethnography, qualitative interviews, archive, quantitative methods, etc) in a wide variety of fields. This research axis is divided into four main themes:

  • Identity assignments and institutionalisation
  • Determining factors, modes and limits of the politicization of religion
  • Historicity, forms and paradoxes of “multiculturalism
  • Politics of memory
Research projects:

- The social and political "life" of identity documents in Africa

- Globalisation of the race, Europe/Americas, 20th and 21st centuries

- Lieux de culte partagés dans le sous-continent indien : interactions religieuses et rapport à l'Autre

- The Chinese in France: transforming identifications and identities

- Contextualizing radicalization: the politics of violent extremism (INR "RADEX")

- Research group on Antidiscriminatory policies

The dynamics and competition between Sufis, Sunnis, and Shi'is in India: salafism, sectarianism and the resilience of Dargah culture

- Diasporic identities: Southeast Asian incorporation experiences in Europe and America - the post-refugee generation

Political representation in India: the Indian legislators project

- The International Observatory of Religions

- Shiite connections across Western Asia and the Middle East: the circulation routes of Ayatollah Mohammad Hachem Salehi

- Populism in America and the Middle East: ethical and religious dimensions

Life history and mémographie: encountering socio-religious change in Northwest Africa 

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